The Descendants is nominated for some Oscars and like allot of films sometimes we get them late or even after they may have won an award here in Australia. So it is of-course hard not to have a present guarantee of excellence expected when seeing a movie that's nominated, especially when the cinema markets it that way.
I really hate films like The Descendants from a review point or even trying to explain to a friend. It really is simply a movie about a guy who's wife is in a coma. Of course there is more texture than that. It's a film about about family, relationships, trust, growing up, take responsibility and I'm sure a hell of allot more. But that really is all subtext and not really the plot and the plot for The Descendants is really simple and a hard film to explain for that reason.
George Clooney does play the lead Matt King and is really fantastic. His ability more so in his recent years to magically blend deep emotion and comedy into one is something itself. He wouldn't stand out as much as he does without the perfect supporting cast he has though. Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller make up his oldest and youngest daughters and give fantastic performances. A film about family needs a believable one on the screen and they certainly are.
Nick Krause's character of Sid also adds some nice light hearted comedy to the film in moments when it may need it and even in moments when it doesn't.
One of the things The Descendants does so well is mix all these strange elements into one film without rubbing out one of the other completely.
|Matt King (George Clooney)|
Unfortunately this does make it a hard film to market and I think I got the pure experience of that in my cinema. Two young girls just talking and making fun of any dire and very sad moments or mocking the characters sat behind me. I don't know if they expected something else but I kind of think they did. The trailer doesn't really express what this movie is and it certainly isn't your general 'chick flick' sappy movie with a love story that girls can easily attach to and hopefully all have a cry about. The Descendants is a rather mature movie in it's story ideas and presentation.
The Descendants to me was more a study of human nature than anything else. It's sad, it's funny but it really is about these characters and watching them squirm and grow.